It's always great to know an exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere...and get some really great benefits, too. Supine bridge is one of them. This exercise is as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. Whether your an exercise enthusiast or rock star athlete, supine bridge can be built into any workout. I love this exercise, and used it to help me strengthen my running, improve my yoga practice and get my body back in shape after being pregnant.
How to Do Supine Bridge Pose
Before I get to the reasons why I think your body will love this pose as much as mine does, here is how you do it. As a general guide, the picture in this post is a perfect visual example of how the final pose should look.
1) Begin by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground about hip-width apart.
2) Squeezing through your bottom, push your hips up until your knees are in line with your hips.
3) Keep your arms flat on the ground, as demonstrated in the picture, or lace your fingers under your back, pulling your shoulder blades closer together.
4) Draw your belly button into your spine and hold for 30 - 60 seconds. Repeat a total of 3 times.
Note: The greatest benefit you'll get is if you really squeeze your butt. I'll explain why in just a moment.
Why Your Body Will Love Supine Bridge
1) Strengthen and tone: Supine bridge strengthens the glutes (your butt), hamstrings (the back of your thighs), lower abdominals (a group muscles called the transverse abdominals) and pelvic floor (ladies, all the benefit of a Kegel exercise - and then some). You might also feel this exercise burning on the top of your legs. This is probably your quadriceps (front of thighs) getting a good stretch!
These muscles not only tighten and tone our bottom, lower abs and thighs, but really ensure that our pelvic floor stays strong. As we get older, our pelvic floor can weaken - whether you've had a baby or not. What's more, this can affect women and men. The most common consequence of a weak pelvic floor is incontinence (or the inability to hold in your urine or stool).
When I work with a client (usually a woman) who tells me that they can hold their pee when they're jumping rope, running or doing jumping jacks, this is one of the first exercises I have them work on. Please don't be embarrassed if this happens to you. It's very, very common, but something we can all improve.
2) Builds Muscular Endurance: Your body is working a lot of big muscles during this exercise. For the most part, this is called an isometric exercise, or an exercise that causes muscle contraction by holding one position. As you progress by repeating this exercise day after day, and week after week, you'll start building greater muscular endurance which could manifest itself into simply being able to walk the stairs easier to running more efficiently.
In addition to improving your muscular tone and strength, bridge pose can help with lower back and hip joint pain.
3) Easy Progressions: If you don't think supine bridge is much of a challenge for you, there are plenty of ways to challenge yourself. Here are a few simple ways to amp up this exercise:
- Squeeze it: Doing the same exercise as above, but place a small, light weight ball (a medicine or toning ball usually works great), or a thick towel in between your knees. As raise your hips, squeeze the ball or towel. Release the tension on the ball or towel as you place your hips back on the ground. You'll really feel this in your inner thighs.
- March Legs: Push up into your bridge and begin marching, simply by lifting your feet up a couple inches - alternating feet for about 30 repetitions.
- Single Leg: Before you push your hips upward, extend one leg out at about 45 degrees. Knees should still be parallel with each other. Slowly push up into the exercise, holding your extended leg where it is. Keep your hips even, and push through on the heel of the leg that's planted down. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat the same leg 10 to 15 times. **If you have knee issues, make sure you get the green light from your doctor. This progression can put more stress on the knee.
Supine bridge is easy and offers a few pretty great benefits - especially considering it's something you can comfortably do when you're lying in front of the TV.
Ready to give this do-anywhere exercise a shot? Make it happen.
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